Watershed Visitors Can Help by Staying on Designated Roads and Trails
The Marin Municipal Water District is starting the fourth phase of its “Project Restore” program this spring near the top of Lagunitas-Rock Spring Road and the West Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. Unofficial trails in this area have been proliferating over the years and some pass through sensitive habitats. Of particular concern are areas with serpentine soils, where many special-status plants grow. These plants can be easily damaged by people traveling off-trail.
The main objectives of this year’s work are to:
decommission about 3 miles of unofficial, unmaintained trails in and around sensitive habitats;
better define the permitted routes through the old air force station on West Peak; and
MMWD launched “Project Restore” in 2009 to restore natural habitats and to improve visitor safety by removing undesirable and unofficial trails. Unofficial trails have a number of adverse impacts on the watershed, such as disturbing sensitive plant and animal species, fragmenting habitats, increasing erosion and increasing the likelihood of visitors getting lost. In past years, trails have been removed, habitat has been restored, and trail signage and connectivity have been improved in the Bon Tempe Lake area, the Temelpa Trail area on the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais and in the Kent Trail / High Marsh area on the north side of Mt. Tamalpais.
MMWD maintains approximately 150 miles of official roads and trails for visitor use, as identified in the district’s Mt. Tamalpais Road and Trail Management Plan. The district strives to maintain these roads and trails so they have minimal impact on surrounding habitats while providing a safe outdoor experience for visitors.
This phase of Project Restore was reviewed as part of the district’s Road and Trail Work Plan for 2012 at the regularly scheduled Watershed Committee meeting on March 8, 2012. The district asks all watershed visitors for their cooperation by staying on official trails and respecting the habitat restoration work. The areas will be fenced off or signed to alert visitors to keep out. Watershed rangers will make a special effort to monitor these areas and, if necessary, will issue citations to users in closed areas.
Visitors may also help the district by refraining from creating new trails and by reporting evidence of unauthorized trail building.
For more information about Project Restore, please visit the Project Restore on MMWD’s website or contact Watershed Manager Mike Swezy at email@example.com.
If you’d like to help the district to further its efforts to maintain the watershed’s official trail network or to improve natural habitat, please consider participating in one of the district’s volunteer trail crews on the first Saturday of each month. For the months of July, August and September, the volunteer trail crews are scheduled to help out on Project Restore. For more information about volunteering, please contact MMWD Volunteer Program Coordinator Suzanne Whelan at firstname.lastname@example.org.